Meet Esther: Hunger Griot

In early October, WFP launched a unique online course with the One Campaign and WFPUSA to transform students from all walks of life into powerful spokespersons in the fight against hunger.

249 students from all over the world enrolled in “Growing Solutions to Hunger: The Hunger and Agriculture Griots Project” to learn the facts of hunger, explore agricultural solutions, and challenge themselves to develop new advocacy skills. Six weeks later, these proud graduates – one mom, one teacher, one PhD student, and one grandfather – wanted to share with you their personal stories of transformation.

What she learned: Women are the key to a future free from hunger

Fighting hunger is a topic very close to my heart. I grew up in a rural village in Kikoneni, Kenya where hunger and poverty was a reality. We practiced small-scale farming and depended on rain-fed agriculture. Life was difficult. Despite it all, I believed that if I studied hard, I would be able to rescue my family from poverty and hunger, and so I pressed on. For many of my peers, the cycle of poverty and hunger continues, and they are part of the one billion hungry people. Sometimes, I often stop and wonder: if it was not for education, perhaps I too would be trapped in the cycle of poverty with no hope for a better future.

But now I have a PhD in Entomology, and in time, I can go back to my community to help bring them out of poverty. My personal experiences with hunger and poverty have compelled me to rise up, take action and be a voice on behalf of the hungry and poor. I have been involved with Universities Fighting World Hunger and have spoken about hunger at various universities. I have volunteered in food banks, community gardens and conducted food drives. The more I got engaged the more I found myself wanting to be better at communicating my passion. So when the griot course was announced, I was delighted and thrilled to join. Hmm, I thought: what a perfect opportunity. I simply had to take it.

So how is the Griot course satiating my hunger?

When I started the course, I assumed I knew everything about hunger; I joined simply to learn new advocacy skills and be a better hunger activist. To my surprise, there was so much more to learn, like;

1. Hunger is Solvable

There is enough food to feed everyone in the world. If we make it a priority and commitment to end hunger, then we can. Throughout the course we have seen so many success stories, which activists can use let everyone know that hunger is completely solvable.

2. Women are Key to Ending Hunger

Women empowerment is key to ending hunger. As mothers, farmers, teachers and entrepreneurs, women hold the key to building a future free of hunger.

3. Multidisciplinary approach

Every discipline has a role in ending hunger. Join the bandwagon and together let’s work to eliminate hunger.

4.  Investing in agriculture and small scale farmers is a foundation for poverty and hunger reduction.

Investments must be context specific, demand driven, participatory and tailored to specific conditions/countries. Alongside agriculture, investments must be made in supporting sectors including education, infrastructure, health and We need to be reminded that if we do not help, people may die. Who knows how many potential scientists, art stars, lawyers we have already lost to hunger?

So how can you help?

  • Choose to donate, 25 cents, just 25 cents is all it takes to feed a child.
  • Choose to advocate on behalf of the one billion hungry people. Engage your community in hunger issues with [eCards, Freerice, WeFeedBack] Learning more about the near 1 billion hungry people at

There are endless options to winning the fight against hunger. Our time is now!


Written by Esther Ngumbi